When you sleep poorly or feel anxious, it is tempting to take pills to solve the challenge. However, prescription sedative drugs known as benzodiazepines are risky, particularly for older adults.
Many people in their 60s, 70s and 80s take anti-anxiety medications like Xanax, Valium and Ativan- sometimes indefinitely. Sleeping pills (such as Halcion and Restoril) meant for short-term use can turn into long-term habits.
Weakness, dizziness and sedation are among the most common side effects of benzodiazepine. Depressed mood, memory problems and irritability can also occur.
Other side effects of benzodiazepine are daytime drowsiness, disorientation, balance problems and increased risk to injuries like falls. The health issues that older adults hope to avoid like mental confusion or hip fractures become more likely.
Inspite of these side effects physicians keep writing and refilling these prescriptions for older patients. According to a new study it was found that many patients take benzodiazepine drugs for many months.
Benzodiazepines affects chemicals in the brain called neurotransmitters, which communicate with nerves in the body. These drugs help to calm the nerves.
Behavioral health services aim at preventing or intervening in substance abuse or other addictions. But, some prescriptions lead to addictions.